clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Is Jeremy Lin as a Fourth or Fifth Option Really so Bad?

Forget about Linsanity and live in the now.

All of the guys on the left are an option before Jeremy Lin. That's a good thing, Houston.
All of the guys on the left are an option before Jeremy Lin. That's a good thing, Houston.
Scott Halleran

Writing an article to complain about people complaining is something I never originally set out to do. But if it just so happens to fall that way, I'm going to roll with it. The topic that usually gets a lot of strong feelings, one way or the other, is that of one Jeremy Lin.

Since joining the Rockets a year ago, fans went from skeptical to encouraged to downright over it. In fact, there are still legions of Houston fans who want to see Patrick Beverley take the reins as the starting point guard this season. As for me, I'm neither a Lin apologist or a Lin detractor. But I do think you've got much bigger problems with your brain if you think Jeremy Lin as a fourth or fifth option is a bad thing.

The high expectations were placed on Lin in Houston because of a certain event during a five week stretch in New York that I'm sick of hearing about. He was the only player anyone outside of the city knew much about prior to the James Harden robbery (yes, like Bill Simmons, I refuse to call that a "trade") and was expected to carry the offensive load for Houston as they rebuilt.

Once Harden came to town as the clear cut alpha dog and the two had zero time to build any chemistry, it was well into the second half of the season before the two showed any signs of clicking as a backcourt. Like it or not, Lin did play well down the stretch last season. Once he started shooting around 40% from three, the team really took off.

It's like Kevin McHale said at media day; if it wasn't for that stretch of games in New York, we'd be hearing about what a terrific first season as a starting NBA point guard Lin had last year. I can agree with that now and I was one of the guys calling him the worst starting point guard in the league last January.

If you can't grasp this by now, I follow teams, not players. If you play poorly, I'm going to call you out for it. If you play well, I'm going to give you props. To look at a stretch where Jeremy was bad last year and say "this is who the guy is" is pretty weak when the team was still struggling to find an identity. And, unlike last year, he isn't exactly being depended on to do a whole lot to carry this team.

With the addition of Dwight Howard, Lin now only has to learn to be more careful with the ball and distribute. While I think fans overreact to how poor defensively he is, there is no overreaction to how careless he can be with the ball at times. He turned the ball over an average of three times per game, but there was plenty of times it happened five plus times and always at crucial moments in big games.

I guess what I'm getting at is that I know Houston sports fans always have to have one guy on their club that is the fan whipping boy. I have no problem with that; it's the nature of the average sports fan. But what I do have a problem with is not giving the devil his due when he plays well.

The bigger issue I have with fans these days are the ones who still whine relentlessly about how they wish Goran Dragic was still here. Well, he isn't, and he won't be coming back anytime soon. Look forward, forget about "Linsanity," and live in the now. This is a team built to contend and Jeremy Lin isn't going to be the reason they can't get it done.

Most of you guys are acting like it's Rafer Alston back there or something. You can do a lot worse than Jeremy Lin as your fourth or fifth option on a contending team.